Detecting Disease In Your Senior Dog

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As a dog grows older, chances are that changes will occur, and most of the time, they are a normal part of the aging process. However, some changes/symptoms that could point to the onset of a disease. Below are some things you should monitor in your dog’s behavior.

Is your senior dog drinking less or more than usual? Do you notice your dog having trouble swallowing? Increased thirst will obviously lead to increased urination, but either of these symptoms could be a red flag indicating a urinary infection or Cushing’s disease. Also, it could be an indication of the beginning stages of kidney or liver disease.

Have you noticed some unusual respiratory changes in your older dog, such as excessive coughing or sneezing or changes in panting? These symptoms could mean something is abnormal with your dog’s heart or respiratory system. Your vet should also check for cancer and heartworms.

When you groom your dog, pay attention to any unusual bumps or new lumps on their body or a cut/sore that is healing slowly (or not at all). In addition, be vigilant for swelling or bloating in their stomach area. Another aspect to monitor is excessive hair loss.

You should examine your dog’s mouth on a regular basis and be aware of any swelling or sores in and around their mouth. Yellow gums could be an indicator of anemia or a disease involving the liver or heart.

Behavioral changes may be the most obvious sign that something needs to be further examined. Separation anxiety is a common condition of older dogs. Also, take note if their sleep pattern has changed drastically.

Do they ignore your commands? This could be the beginning of hearing loss or a painful ear infection. Do they seem to suddenly startle easily? Perhaps, they are having a difficult time hearing or seeing you approach. Moreover, physical activity changes, such as climbing stairs, is usually the first sign of arthritis setting in.

There is no need to panic, as these signs may not mean 100 percent that your elderly dog has a disease. But if your dog displays one or more of these behavior or physical changes, it should prompt you to continue monitoring the condition and make an appointment with your veterinarian.